Basements are excellent storage areas or extended living spaces, but when the basement floor shows signs of moisture, waterproofing is a must. Learning how to waterproof your basement does not have to be expensive or complicated – if you do it soon enough.
Waterproofing Basements Starts Outside
The moisture you may see on your basement floor or walls is most likely coming from the outside. Observe the area around your foundation and examine its drainage. Ideally, the area around your foundation should be slightly sloped so that water flows away from the home and its basement. Over time, the slope may have evened out or you might have leveled the area during gardening. Add soil and recreate the slope.
Learning how to waterproof your basement may also take you up onto the roof. Are your gutters in working order? If you have frequent clogs that cause water to run down the side of your house instead of being led away from it, you might need to clean the gutters and install gutter guards to prevent future clogging with leaves, seedpods or other debris.
Examine the Basement Floor and Walls for Cracks
Once you eliminate the possible source of water, look for its entryway. Cracks in floor and wall joins are the most common culprits, although earthquakes or a home’s settling may cause cracks to appear virtually anywhere in a wall. Ace Hardware suggests that you fill cracks with a waterproofing mix while larger jobs require mortar. It may be a good idea to enlist the services of a licensed contractor if you see a network of cracks that seem to fan out from an identifiable point of origin. You may be dealing with a foundation problem at this point, which goes beyond the scope of the weekend honey-do list worker.
When the Water on the Basement Floor is Condensation
Basement waterproofing does not necessarily deal with holes and cracks; sometimes the basement floor or wall moisture may come from condensation. This may worsen if you have a laundry area in the vicinity. Locate cold water pipes that run through your basement and insulate them. Add a vent that helps with humidity removal. Insulate the basement walls to stabilize the temperature fluctuations in the basement and rent a dehumidifier to remove any moisture that thus far accumulated.
Avoid Temporary Fixes When Waterproofing Basements
Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. At the same time, applying a temporary fix to the problem of basement waterproofing might actually worsen the issue. While you might plug a hole, failure to stem the flow will simply cause the water to search for another outlet. If it reaches wood inside the walls, you may now also look at the potential for dry rot and an increased risk of termite infestations. Perhaps the most important tip to consider when learning how to waterproof your basement is to do it right the first time — or call in a professional who will.